Introducing...My DIANAs!

2012-08-28 4

There are three Diana cameras in my collection, which I fondly refer to as the “Grandmother”, the “Mother”, and the “Nephew”. :D

Diana N° 151, the Grandmother

It was the first-ever Diana camera. It was produced in Hong Kong by the Great Wall Plastic Factory. It was a camera with simple operations and simple style, which made it seem like a toy. In fact, it was the first “toy camera”.

The camera was made of low-quality plastic, the type of plastic commonly used to produce toys imported from Asia during the ‘60s. In those years, Lomography wasn’t around and almost no one liked the photographs taken with the bad Asian plastic camera because the photographs were often “distorted” by the vignetting or light leaks.

The simplicity of the mechanisms and the poverty of the materials made the Diana N° 151, made the camera obsolete in those times.

Many specimens were exported in the US, and here it was used by retailers for marketing strategies, as a promotional tool for those who signed a subscription to a magazine or for those who bought products sold door to door. Before the Diana became famous, you could buy it for 50 cents or you could win it as a prize in fairs and game shows.

However, someone was able to appreciate this plastic wonder. At Ohio University, the mythical Diana camera was provided to all the students of a photography course. It was one of the few cameras on the market capable of stimulating the creative vision of students, because they certainly could not rely on technology, which is completely absent with the Diana.

One of the students, a certain Nancy Rexroth, introduced the Diana to the rest of the world. She took a series of photographs around the Midwest and made “IOWA”, a collection that was also exhibited at MoMA in New York.

Among all my Diana cameras, the N° 151 is the only one that truly gave me the kind of effect that it has advertised, “dreamy, radiant, and lo-fi”!

Here are a few shots with the sprocket holes, obtained by fitting a 135 film:

Here are some black and white shots :

Diana F+ CMYK, the MOTHER

It was my first analog machine…it all started from here. It was given to me last January, on the occasion of my 26th birthday. In my opinion, it is the most fun Diana clone created by Lomography.

It is called CMYK because it is in cyan, magenta, yellow, and black…the four primary colors utilized in offset printing! With the Diana F+ CMYK I joined in the analog world of Lomography, when I thought it was extinct for decades. Through the Diana F+ CMYK, I had seen (and used) for the first time, 120 film. Through the Diana F+ CMYK, I discovered vignetting, cross processing, and the overlap. This is pure Lomography and now I’m inside this!

Here’s a bit of shots taken with my favorite camera of all time:

Diana Mini White, the NEPHEW

It is the smallest toy-camera of my collection. I appreciate it just for this reason. Up to now, it is the one most frequently used by me, especially when I go out in the evening. The reasons? It has all the charms of the Diana F+, compressed in just a few centimeters. It is not cumbersome. Has a hot shoe, where I can mount my Diana F+ CMYK’s flash. It makes use of 135 film that allows you to make more pictures (square), only 36? NO! You can take 72 photos, if you set it at half-frame. :D

Here are some square shots or medium-format:

Here are some rectangular shots or half-frames:

Which DIANA cameras do you have ?

written by giovannidecarlo on 2012-08-28 #diana-n-151 #vintage-toy-camera #lifestyle #diana-f-cmyk #diana-mini-white


  1. luplik
    luplik ·

    Nice article! I've just got my first diana yersterday, more precisely diana mini. I am on my way to try it out today. Cross your fingers :)

  2. giovannidecarlo
    giovannidecarlo ·

    @luplik Try the half-frame format and the square one in the same film . . !
    It's a fantastic camera, very light and very funny ! ! ! CROSS THE FINGERS !

  3. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Amazing story & nice info. It was made in 60's so the name not refer to Princess Lady Diana Spencer at all (?)

  4. giovannidecarlo
    giovannidecarlo ·

    @hervinsyah I'm glad you enjoyed my article. . . mmm I do not think referring to Lady D ... I like to think it is related to Diana, the goddess of hunting in ancient Rome. . . because taking pictures is a little how to hunt ! (:

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